The question is often asked, "My medical problems were caused by my job, but I didn't have any specific accident. Can I still collect workers' compensation benefits?"
In this article Joplin, Missouri workers' compensation attorneys address the question of whether cumulative or repetitive trauma injuries are compensable under the Missouri workers' compensation system.
Cumulative Trauma Claims
Many people might not believe they have a workers' compensation claim because their pain or medical problem crept up on them slowly, over time. Because they did not have a specific work-related accident to point to, such as a fall, they do not believe they can get benefits under workers' compensation.
However, the workers' compensation law does not necessarily require a specific event to have occurred to qualify for benefits. A gradual onset injury is often referred to as a "repetitive trauma" or "cumulative trauma" injury, and such injury may be compensable under workers' compensation.
One common cumulative trauma injury that everyone has heard of is the repetitive stress injury carpal tunnel syndrome. While the causes for carpal tunnel syndrome of course vary, repetitive work with the hands, such as typing or other hand-intensive work, can lead to its development. While there is likely no specific accident that occurred that led to the development of the carpal tunnel, the long-term exposure to the repetitive stress may have caused it, and such injury is indeed often compensable under workers' compensation.
There are many other cumulative trauma injuries as well, including things such as tendinitis, long term exposure to toxic chemicals, hearing loss due to repeated exposure to loud noises, etc.